When Taylor Swift left introspective country music for the unabashed pop of '1989,' it was a clear turning point in her career. But Swift has been slowly gentrifying her sound and look since 'Fearless.'
As Taylor evolved, so did the faces of her music video boyfriends. In her early clips, the boys were cute, scruffy guy-next-door types -- they could be the cashiers at your local Target. Eventually, that type gave way to more stylish males, guys who looked like they should be modeling in a Target catalog.
And in Swift's latest music video, we see Taylor opposite a Kennedy-esque aristocrat, the type of guy who looks like his dad probably owns a majority share in Target's stock.
From "Tim McGraw" to "Blank Space," here's the Evolution of Taylor Swift's Music Video Boyfriends.
In the music video for the first single from her self-titled 2007 album, Taylor sings about a dude who was "just a boy in a Chevy truck." And that's exactly what viewers see: A down-home, anti-Hollywood everyman with a flannel shirt and messy hair.
"TEARDROPS ON MY GUITAR"
Swift's high school beau is a long-faced bro who sees her as just as a friend in this heartbreaker. Sporting a mall kiosk chain necklace and a thermal army green (long-sleeved!) shirt, this guy definitely listens to Eric Church and Metallica in equal proportions. And check his profile in the library scene -- there's a hint of Leno chin on this dude. He's cute enough, but hardly out of reach.
"PICTURE TO BURN"
In this clip, fans are still seeing guys that look like the boy sitting in front of them in math class -- that's the idea, after all. Here, viewers meet the no-good, cheating ex-beau who is distinctly unremarkable in every way (shaggy brown hair, plain green shirt). All the better to project your own feelings, my dear.
This 'Fearless' music video is a portent of boys to come for Taylor. Looking like the dashing male lead in a Jane Austen movie, Taylor upgrades to a much prettier boy in the "Love Story" music video. But his slick good looks aren't in contrast to Swift, who was still occupying the every-girl role at this point in her career, because this guy comes to Swift in the form of a fairytale-esque daydream. Eventually, this type would become her primary go-to.
The normal-ish guy trend continues to fracture ever-so-slightly on "White Horse." The ballad about realizing a guy isn't Prince Charming comes complete with a guy who very well looks like he might be, albeit in a down-to-earth way. He's the first guy who doesn't look like he could be in high school.
"YOU BELONG WITH ME"
Much like "Teardrops on My Guitar," this video finds Swift longing for a high school boy who just sees her as a friend. But with a Bieber swoop and a sweet smile, the "You Belong With Me" boy is much cuter than that dude -- although not too attractive as to seem unattainable. In fact, this guy looks a lot like Alex from Target, the Texas teen/corporate meme that captured viral fame for looking good without trying too hard. Coincidence? Nope. Taylor and Target are totally on the same page.
The first single off Swift's third album 'Speak Now' finds her falling for (and having kids with!) the first dude with some seriously styled hair (think blonde highlights). He also has arm tattoos and some serious muscle -- Swift is growing up, and the guys are, too.
"BACK TO DECEMBER"
Taylor Swift has no tolerance for "indie records much cooler than mine," but she definitely has an affinity for the cute boys who listen to them. The estranged boyfriend in this video is a long-haired indie kid straight out of a J. Crew winter catalog. This guy reads Camus, not Field & Stream magazine. Dark features and brooding attitude aside, there's a softness to his features that definitely puts him in the non-threatening category.
"WE ARE NEVER EVER GETTING BACK TOGETHER"
Well, hello there, Adam Levine lookalike! We're in the 'Red' era now and the guys could easily double as sexy male models. In fact, that's exactly what one boyfriend is here, listening to "cool" records and stalking around in a leather jacket. The scarf only adds to his aloof, mysterious, decidedly adult vibe.
As with the Adam Levine stand-in, the 'Red' videos are where Taylor starts dating bad boys and/or douchebags. This guy is an upper class lothario who probably plays polo and was definitely in a frat. Smarmy from the first frame, he looks like an actor destined to be cast as the a-hole fiancé in a movie who just isn't right for the female lead (but she doesn't know it yet). But at this point in Taylor's video world, he's her cultured, confident ideal.
"I KNEW YOU WERE TROUBLE"
The bad boy is officially here! Well, at least the Hollywood model version of a bad boy. With long, greasy hair, tattoos, and plenty of moody lighting, we see the first guy who hasn't gotten a rose-colored tint when Swift remembers the good times. The fact that he's also decked out with rings and a suit jacket doesn't hurt the overall impression.
This guy is a far cry from the rural suburban boys of 2007. Instead, we get an immaculately groomed dude who would look like an aristocrat even if he weren't standing in a mansion. While the boys from her past videos were familiar faces, this is not the kind of man a plebeian can approach announced -- unless they're taking his drink order. With his Kennedy-esque good looks and meticulously selected clothes, Swift has gone from country to country club at this point, even in her music video world. Guys with pickup trucks and mall kiosk chain necklaces need not apply.
Taylor's "Style" video is all smoke and mirrors (literally). For the '1989' song that she's more-or-less confirmed is about her relationship with Harry Styles, Swift employs an actor who vaguely resembles the One Direction heartthrob. He's far from a dead ringer, but there's something about his dark, penetrating eyes and high forehead that distinctly recalls Harry.
Likely another Styles-inspired tune, the romantically retro video for "Wildest Dreams" features Scott Eastwood in the co-starring role as Taylor's, well, co-star...in an anonymous film, that is. The craggily handsome Eastwood may break Tay's heart, but he certainly looks good doing it.